The Vineyards Wake Up

The vineyards are bursting with life right now. You can practically feel it. I know that sounds weird but it's true; there's a feeling of growth and renewal in the valley that signals another growing season beginning in the vineyards.

Last weekend I took a drive through neighboring Alexander Valley. It was pretty amazing how much more advanced the shoot growth was over there. Of course Alexander Valley is a few degrees warmer than Dry Creek Valley so this makes perfect sense. This is the time of year when you can also plainly see which varieties mature quicker than others. For example, here are two vineyards that line either side of my driveway. The one on the right is Chardonnay. Notice the larger more developed leaves. That's because bud break occurs earlier than the vineyard on the left which is planted to Zinfandel, generally a later ripening variety.

Zinfandel - click photo to enlarge Chardonnay - click photo to enlarge!

The gnarly older Zinfandel vineyards are my favorite. Their twisted darkGnarly Vines - click photo to enlarge trunks and artistic sculptural form are particularly beautiful right now. I love to think about the history that these old vines have witnessed. Just think, they've survived earthquakes, wars, depressions, recessions... you name it.

This is the time of year that replanting also takes place. In our case, we are embarking on a major replant of our historic and famed DCV 3 Sauvignon Blanc vineyard. I say historic because it was the first new vineyard planted after Prohibition AND it was the first Sauvignon Blanc vineyard planted in northern Sonoma County. I say famed because it was selected "One of the Top 40 Vineyards in America" by wine critic Paul Lukacs in his 2005 book, The Great Wines of America.   As soon as the ground dries out, we'll start to prepare the soil for planting. We've selected 3 Sauvignon Blanc selections to add to our palate of flavors: Sauvignon Musqué, Sauvignon Gris, and Clone#378.

As Easter approaches, it's important to take time to smell the roses... or as we say around here, observe the grapevines! If you're in the area, be sure to stop by and say hi.

P.S. Next weekend (April 30/May 1) is Passport to Dry Creek Valley. Be sure to visit our Jimmy Buffett Tribute. We promise you'll be swaying to the ocean breezes in our cellar and jammin' to the music of The Parrotheads.
| | Comments (7)


CHUCK JOHNSON Author Profile Page said:
April 22, 2011 7:02 PM

Kim, I'll be sure to tell our guests at the Donatello hotel about Passport to Dry Creek Valley! And I'll make an extra point to tell them to visit the best winery in Dry Creek Valley "DCV." I'm sure they'll love the adventure & excitement of attending the event & visiting the valley. Also congrads on the development of your new tasting room. I'm looking forward to seeing it again when I return to DCV!

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
April 22, 2011 9:12 PM

Thanks a million Chuck. You'll have to come up and meet our new TR Mgr. Rick; he'll give you the grand tour! Have a great Easter weekend.

JohnLopresti Author Profile Page said:
April 24, 2011 1:11 PM

I found an FPMS October 2002 discussion of the sauvignon blanc and 'musque' vines in their reference collection. The download file size is 209 kb. It includes geographic sourcing information for several clones; and even discusses Pierre Galet's identification of several sauvignon blanc clones on his journeys thru CA; plus, a photo of an old gnarled head trained sauvignon blanc vine in the Davis collection. I can recall one exceptionally vigorous selection of sauvignon blanc under study in the Fulton flats area a while back.

Julie Author Profile Page said:
April 29, 2011 9:03 AM


I haven't seen the article you spoke about. But,I will look it up. It sounds like a good resource. UC Davis and FPMS are good sources of information if you want more information about different grape varieties that are available.
Sauvignon blanc and Sauvignon musque can definitely be vigorous. Not sure about the selection in Fulton flats that you are speaking of.

JohnLopresti Author Profile Page said:
April 30, 2011 7:19 PM

Hi, Julie, I am trying to ask for more Fulton information from the viticulture professor who took our student group to tour the site. The cabernet sauvignon vines were planted on 10'x10's old style cordons, and became an impossibly dense canopy after cane growth was complete.

In the alternative, you can email me at the address I gave Wilma's site when I registered here; and I could supply the expert's name for you to reach directly. He is semi-retired, though still in the area and evidently still taking occasional research assignments of interest.
John L.

Eric wine coolers said:
May 10, 2011 11:15 AM

i had no idea the stalks for grapes for zinfandels were so gnarly looking. that is amazing. i like them. they certainly possess character

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
May 13, 2011 6:32 PM

With Zinfandel, the older the vine the "gnarlier" it gets!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kim published on April 22, 2011 8:23 AM.

We're Getting Close was the previous entry in this blog.

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